Louisa and the Missing Heiress
Anna Maclean

Excerpt

DIFFERING TESTIMONIALS

“I will tell you exactly what it says,” Cobban said. “That a tall man wearing a fancy, expensive greatcoat with a high collar was quarreling with a woman near the docks on the afternoon of Mrs. Wortham’s disappearance. The man is described, and meets Mr. Wortham’s description. The woman with whom he quarreled met Mrs. Wortham’s description.”

“Even so, it is a fact of life that husbands and wives do sometimes quarrel, and sometimes in public,” I mused.

“Sadly true,” Cobban agreed. “But when a wife is murdered, the quarrel takes on significance.”

“And you have no idea who sent this anonymous letter?”

“Usually, with an anonymous letter, that is the point, isn’t it?” Cobban said gently, patiently.

“Constable Cobban, I have talked to a woman who spends her days at the dock, the crab-cake seller, and she said that on that afternoon, there was no quarreling couple, not anywhere near the place where Dot was later found. It was the day the child fell into the water and there was a large commotion over that, but she says there were no other distractions that afternoon. And my witness is not anonymous.”

I rose, and could not resist a smile of victory.

“Good day, Constable.”

“Miss Alcott, do you really believe Wortham innocent? What is he to you, that you seek to defend him?”

I took a deep breath before answering his question.

“He is innocent till proven guilty,” I answered. “That is what he is to us all.”